Directed By: Eric England
Written By: Eric England
Starring: Ace Marrero, Katie Stegeman, Jack E. Curenton
Color/81 Minutes/Not Rated
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Bickering couple Dan and Mindy are on a road trip to visit family when they're nearly run off the road by a mud covered truck. A few miles down the road Dan has an uncomfortable encounter with the driver of that truck at a gas station but the clerk and the sheriff tell him he's nobody to fear. After fueling up the new challenge is to stay ahead of the oncoming winter storm until they reach a fallen tree limb which Dan tries to clear until a voice from the woods startles him and fires a rifle in his direction. Thus begins the night of terror the couple will have to endure as the man hides behind the tree line with his rifle fixed to Dan and Mindy whenever either one of them tries to make a move.
ROADSIDE manages to be a minimalist affair and remain effective enough throughout. With freezing temperatures and a madman hiding out of sight that you know will kill you if he wants to the waiting game is one of tension and suspense. Unfortunately his voice is far from intimidating. I found it to be distractingly over produced. It also helps to have sympathetic characters in these types of films, someone for the audience to root for. Both of our victims in this situation are running around behind the others back with other lovers, bicker about stupid shit the entire car ride and just don't seem like people that would end up together. The only good thing about them is their dog, he seems like a cool dude.
As far as the production goes, there's only a couple of locations from the car and abandoned highway to the gas station. It keeps the isolation feeling in our minds at all times. ROADSIDE is competent and from a young director is a solid foundation. There's nothing here to set it apart from dozens upon dozens of other similar films and the twist seems to be thrown in just for the hell of it but it's okay overall.
The Audio & Video
The DVD from Image Entertainment is pretty standard but there's nothing wrong with that. The video looks fine, with dark levels being handled okay and a reasonably sharp picture on the anamorphic widescreen transfer. There's a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that sounds like a typical surround mix but there's nothing in the way of damage or distractions.
The Bottom Line
Standard horror thriller fare that feels fine just getting by but doesn't take the initiative to make the honor roll.
ROADSIDE is available HERE